Black History Isn’t a Footnote

Dear Soft Hearts,

I want to note and celebrate Black History Month with full honoring and acknowledgment.

When I lived in Baltimore I learned so much. It made me wonder if we would be less racists if we all grew up in a place where we honored and knew Black history not as a footnote of our Columbus riddled textbooks in the US, but as integrated everyday. I remember being on the phone with a principal explaining the stats, “there’s more than 50% Black people in Baltimore and yet more than half the students suspended in your school are Black. What makes you think you can suspend or threaten police on this child?”

Often times this is where school officials’ White fragility and White supremacy would be mansplained. I’d get off the phone with them and then call our medical-legal partnership who could step up with the legal tools I didn’t know about. Why were the flavors of their racism such that it hurt children? I wanted to know more and learn more about the psychology behind these school officials “othering” perfect children. Not to say that adults are not perfectly human as they are, but I wanted to know how I could not raise little racists like these administrators suspending and threatening Black children.

I wanted to know what we can do to learn more about the beautiful contributions of Black people, legal involvement, and not continue institutional racism. There’s more and more I learn to this day.

While I honor this special month I also want to acknowledge it is not just one month, not simply a footnote to Columbus stealing land, but everyday of our history and current lives. This si not simply one month; it’s every moment, everyday for the rest of our lives.

Thank you,

Dr. Joharchi

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